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Congressional races heat up with personal attacks

Ad watches from around the country keep getting filed. While many still hit on issues, more and more are getting personal. looks into and ad from Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District in which "Democrat Joyce Elliott accuses her opponent, Tim Griffin, of violating the commandment not to bear false witness." But then FactCheck finds Elliott offering up plenty of false items herself:

Elliott says Griffin "conspired to keep students and soldiers from voting" in the 2004 election, an unproven allegation that has resulted in no charges. Her ad says Griffin "opposes regulating Wall Street." It's true he opposes the Democratic financial reform bill, but not all financial regulations. It also says Griffin supports "trade deals that cost us jobs," but she doesn't provide any evidence to support that claim.

The Minnesota Independent looks at some direct mail advertisements from different anti-abortion groups attacking Democratic Rep. James Oberstar:
The groups point to Oberstar's vote for the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010 to claim he supports federal funding for abortion and therefore is no longer "pro-life." But as fact-checkers have pointed out, health care reform does not include federal funding for abortion. In fact, one national group that's targeting Oberstar, the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), has landed in court over the statements.

Politifact Ohio looks at a DCCC attack ad against Republican congressional candidate Tom Ganley, an owner of 20 auto dealerships. Politifact gave the ad a "half true" rating because:
"Buyer Beware," a TV ad from the DCCC, added the claims that Ganley has "two F's from the Better Business Bureau" and "over 160 complaints in just three years." ... The DCCC's claim that Ganley has "two F's from the Better Business Bureau" checked out. But the ad fails to note that those two grades later changed. The claim of "over 160 complaints in just three years" is accurate. Recognizing that Ganley is Ohio's largest car dealer with 20 dealerships is information not in the ad that lends it some perspective. And that the average grade for all those dealerships is a B plus is an important detail that also is missing.

Citizens Against Government Waste have an advocacy ad against the stimulus out that is already on its way to becoming a much copied Internet meme. Before it does though, James Fallows fact checks the original:
If you know anything about the Chinese economy, the actual analytical content here is hilariously wrong. The ad has the Chinese official saying that America collapsed because, in the midst of a recession, it relied on (a) government stimulus spending, (b) big changes in its health care systems, and (c) public intervention in major industries -- all of which of course, have been crucial parts of China's (successful) anti-recession policy.

Finally, downballot, the Des Moines Register wonders "whether a seat in the Iowa Senate is really worth the degrading level of desperation that both candidates are showing in District 37." They report that one candidate has accused her opponent of "letting dangerous abusers buy guys to kill women and kids."

By Justin Bank  | October 22, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Ad Watch, Fact Check 2010  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jack Conway gets testy with CNN reporter
Next: Obama warns: GOP will try to repeal Wall St. reform


The media must accept responsibility for the incivility and misinformation that have replaced serious attention to the qualifications of candidates for the offices to which they aspire. In the WaPo, For example, the provocative headlines phrased to inflame heated responses and vitriol regularly "beg the question" of a thesis based on a PERCEPTION of some supposed malfeasance or implied character weakness.

As a result, gullible readers are sufficiently distracted from the real issues to engange in mutual mudslinging and accusations. The lies proliferate.

Much of the discontent must be attributed to the misinformation and outright mendacity circulated by those who pull (and fund) the partisan strings. We have been reduced to waging campaign warfare with outright lies or partial truths taken out of context. The false advertising on TV, moreover, is copiously funded by unknown, unrevealable sources. Thank you, SCOTUS. Corruption? Exhibit A.

The media have an obligation, inherent in their profession, to counteract the mudslinging and untruths by publishing actual FACTS, true evidence in a neutral, non-judgmental, non-partisan format. A separate "Truth/Fact" column on the issues raised, perhaps?

Restore integrity to journalism and the judiciary and the "middle class" to whom it is popular to pander nowadays, will be properly served.

As for the unladylike Angle and her ilk who hide their inadequacies behind sexist insults, "leave her/them to heaven." They disrespect others because they lack self-respect. They also demean their gender. Best to ignore their vulgar sexism. Best to ignore the defamatory ads as well. I habitually employ my remote to tune down, turn off, change channels.

Posted by: castleb | October 22, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

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